When Flying, Is Mascara Considered a Liquid By The TSA?

Last Updated on September 16, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Yes. The TSA counts mascara as a liquid
  • Mascara needs to be packed in your quart-size toiletries bag when packed in hand luggage
  • Consider buying a smaller mini mascara so that it doesn’t take up so much space in your toiletries bag
  • Mascara is unrestricted in checked luggage

Here is a screenshot from the TSA website:

Is mascara considered a liquid? The TSA certainly thinks so

This means that mascara is subject to “the 3-1-1 rule”.

The 3 in the name means that you can only have mascara in 3.4 oz containers. That’s 100 ml. Under 3.4 oz or 100 ml is fine.

The second 1 means that you must put all your 3.4 oz containers in 1 clear quart-sized bag.

And the last 1 means that you are only allowed 1 quart-sized bag in your carry-on. Each traveler is only permitted one bag.

You can put as much mascara as you want in your checked luggage. But there are restrictions when you pack it in your carry on luggage.

You can put more than 1 mascara in your quart bag, so long as it’s under 3.4 ounces.

Mascara usually comes in tubes that are between 0.2 fl oz and 0.5 fl oz (6 – 15 ml) with a brush attached to the cap. That means that your mascara will likely be well under the 3.4 oz (100 ml) TSA limit for hand luggage.

The only problem will be that along with your nail polish, your lip gloss, your foundation, your sun cream and your vodka miniatures you might not have much space in your toiletries bag.

So consider buying a mini mascara that won’t take up much room inside your quart-size bag.

For example this mini mascara by Estée Lauder is a little smaller at 0.1 fl oz (3 ml)than usual making it a great choice for travel.

Why is Mascara Counted as a Liquid for Flying?

All mascaras contain a mixture of pigment, waxes, oils and liquid gel.

Once mixed together these ingredients form a paste.

And it’s not only liquids that are restricted by the TSA it’s pastes and gels too.

All pastes are subject to security regulations by the TSA and in fact, international airport security screening around the world has similar regulations too.

So that’s it. You can carry small amounts of mascara in your hand luggage but if you want to take lots of mascara on a flight you’ll need to put it in a checked bag.

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